Re: [Buddhaviharas] Making Metta Active in Daily Life
- Dear DaveK,
I've used a different strategy for dealing with people when I'm out and about. The Buddha said that we have all been through so many incarnations that at one time or another, everyone we meet has been our mother or our child. I use a slight variant on that.
I pretend that everyone I see is my brother or sister. It changes how I see them. Instead of thinking, "Oh, what a slovenly man!" for example, I might think, "My poor brother is really going through a difficult time." It changes how I perceive them and hence how I behave toward them. It surprised me, at first, how often the change in _my_ demeanor seemed to change how the person would interact with me. There's a big difference between having someone scowl judgmentally at you and having someone smile because they're happy to see you.
Early on in my practice, I sometimes used it to wall out the aspects of the world that I found most difficult to deal with, but now I see every interaction, every encounter, every "problem," as an opportunity for practice.
I hope that something in what I have written is helpful to you.
===8<==============Original message text===============
Friday, January 25, 2008, 2:35:15 PM, you wrote:
> I've started practicing Metta again and
> have been struggling with the
> question of how to keep it from being a
> self-indulgent exercise, and
> making it into something that actually
> works when I'm out in the
> world in contact with people.
> I've noticed that I can sit in Metta and
> radiate towards people and
> feel very nice, even getting a kind of
> rapturous state, but then
> still harbor negative feeling towards
> people when I actually meet
> them in the real world.
> So I am working on some verses that I was
> hoping the group could help
> with. I started off this way
> "May all beings I encounter be happy."
> I found this to be very inspiring, becuase
> it planted the idea in my
> brain that whenever I encountered
> everybody that the wish would arise
> in me. Then I went on to more specific -
> thinking of the relevant
> sense bases:
> "May all beings I see be happy"
> "May all beings I hear be happy"
> "May all beings I think of be happy"
> "All beings I cognize through any of the
> sense bases, through any
> medium whatsoever, may they be happy."
> "Any medium" refers to phones,
> televisions, radios, etc. I notice
> that if I hear something disagreeable on
> the radio or something on TV
> I find myself getting agitated. Like
> whenever I see a commercial for
> a "reality TV" show I get so upset!
> Sure I could just turn it off, and usually
> do. But that doesn't
> address the problem. Or sometimes I don't
> have a choice - if I'm in
> the car with my mom and she turns on the
> radio I start hearing all
> kinds of things that upset me. So I think
> this "through any medium"
> should be helpful.
> Next I approached it from the opposite angle.
> "May all beings seeing me be happy." etc.
> The only problem here is that I think this could give rise to
> conceit - as if I am some special being
> that causes people to be
> happy when I walk in the room! This could
> be setting myself up for
> disappointment. So I revised it to
> "I aspire that all beings seeing me be happy." etc.
> In other words, I want to make it my goal
> that my presence would be
> beneficial to others, but I realize that I
> have work to do to bring
> this into fruition. This is another idea I
> find inspiring - it makes
> me want to practice.
- Hi Dave,
I recommend equanimity meditation, forgiveness guided meditation (see
files section of my forgivenessBuddhism group) and walking meditation.
I'll send this and will post again if I think of anything else.
With metta / Antony.